QR Codes: Are Manufacturers Missing an Opportunity? Part 1

by | Nov 23, 2010

B-to-B Marketers need to take advantage of every marketing tool, especially if your target market is the professional tradesman. Most of these folks are on the move and depend on their cell phone, not only to stay in touch, but to get valuable info that will help them do their job. One tool for mobile smart phones that probably is overlooked is the QR code.

More and more these days, we are seeing the use of QR codes in the consumer market. But QR codes are fairly new to arrive in the business-to-business sector. Since we see these as a great way to build a bridge between print and online presence, we thought we would take the guesswork out of these strange little codes.

Today Aylie Fifer, Relationship Architect at Sonnhalter will hopefully take some of the mystery out of this potential marketing tool with this 2-part guest post:

What are QR codes?

A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response,” as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

This 2D bar code that stores URL information (or other information) so that when scanned with a smart phone reader (using the mobile’s camera), it directs you to a specific URL (or other location such as a video, a v-card, etc.)

These are very, very popular in Japan and are starting to catch on it the U.S., but mostly in the CPG market right now – we are starting to see it enter into the business-to-business world. 

Here is a site to show you how QR codes work (you have to have a phone that has a QR reader on it or download an app):


The creation of QR codes:

Usually synonymous with mass production, the quick response (QR) bar code was originally created by Japanese company Denso-Wave to keep inventory. However, because QR codes allow for more data than the standard 10-digit bar code, and because scanning requires less effort than typing a URL, the QR code has taken a turn for the personal. Denso has the patent to the QR code but as of yet, has not chosen to enforce it.

Denso-Wave website:  http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/index-e.html

From Bar Code to QR Code – from the website http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/aboutqr-e.html

Bar codes have become widely popular because of their reading speed, accuracy, and superior functionality characteristics. As bar codes become popular and their convenience universally recognized, the market began to call for codes capable of storing more information, more character types, and that could be printed in a smaller space.

As a result, various efforts were made to increase the amount of information stored by bar codes, such as increasing the number of bar code digits or laying out multiple bar codes.

However, these improvements also caused problems such as enlarging the bar code area, complicating reading operations, and increasing printing cost.

2D Code emerged in response to these needs and problems:

2D Code is also progressing from the stacked bar code method (that stacks bar codes), to the increased information density matrix method.

About QR codes:

QR Code is a kind of 2-D (two-dimensional) symbology developed by Denso Wave (a division of Dens Corporation at the time) and released in 1994 with the primary aim of being a symbol that is easily interpreted by scanner equipment.

QR Code (2D Code) contains information in both the vertical and horizontal directions, whereas a bar code contains data in one direction only. QR Code holds a considerably greater volume of information than a bar code. Thus allowing for more sophisticated information to be encoded than just numbers such as a web link or a vcard.

Tomorrow we will talk about the difference between Microsoft tags and traditional QR codes.

While there are many different variations of QR codes such as Microsoft tags or Shotcodes, the premise is the same – a quick-reading code that takes you to more information. In our next post, we will discuss what Microsoft tags are and how they compare to traditional QR codes.


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